Getting the Best Picture on Your Game Boy Advance Screen

The Game Boy Advance was designed to be the most powerful hardware at the best possible price. One of the decisions that allowed us to produce such a flexible system was to use reflective screen technology for our display. This is the same technology used in all of our earlier Game Boy systems. (For more information on reflective screen technology vs. back-lit screen technology, link here.)

Because the brightness of the screen image is based upon reflected light, the quality of your lighting conditions will affect your ability to see the Game Boy Advance screen clearly. We have gathered some tips together to give you some ideas about how to get the best picture from your Game Boy Advance (see below).

Please note: If you are able to start and play a game with your Game Boy Advance, it is working properly, even if the screen display seems a bit darker than expected. If you are having problems getting your system started or can see no picture at all, please check our troubleshooting section.

Tips for Getting the Best Picture

  • Play in well-lit areas whenever possible

    To get maximum picture brightness on your Game Boy Advance, play in a well-lit area. Natural sunlight near a window or outdoors works great, too, as does playing near a lamp, etc... A light source that is above or behind the player will maximize the brightness of the game. Try holding the Game Boy Advance at different viewing angles for the best results.

  • Lighting Accessories

    Trying to play in a dimly lit area can be difficult, so we don't recommend it--for any of our Game Boy systems. There are a variety of different lighting accessories available that will allow players to enjoy their Game Boy Advance in low light conditions. Here are some things to look for when chosing a lighting accessory:

    • Try to use licensed products, if possible. Some retailers, such as, continue to sell the licensed Light Boy Advance.

    • Look for products that require their own batteries. Avoid products that drain power from the Game Boy Advance itself. Some tap into the batteries or the link port. This may drain the batteries too quickly.

    • Avoid products that touch the screen when folded. Many lights also act as a screen cover, however those that touch the screen itself (rather than covering it) can cause damage if the unit is dropped.

    • Try to find a light with a uniform light source. Lights with a single point of light are known to cause "hot spots" or glare over specific areas of the screen, making game play difficult. Good lights use long bars of light or multiple light sources to illuminate the screen.

    • Do not install an internal light. While there are conversion kits to install internal lights that promise the best illumination, the process used is very likely to introduce dust particles into the screen which will permanently mar the picture.

    • Purchase accessories from a reputable retailer. Good places to buy include all major retail chains (Best Buy, GameStop, EBX, Sears, etc.) and online at sites like and Check their return policy before you buy to ensure that you have a chance to evaluate the product's effectiveness, if possible.

  • Game Boy Advance games look the best

    Games designed specifically for Game Boy Advance take better advantage of the higher resolution screen and full color palette. Games with bright, flat colors--such as Super Mario Advance--will be easier to see than those that use darker shading.

  • Game Boy Color games

    Some Game Boy Color games, which were not designed for the newer Game Boy Advance screen, may appear darker than they looked when played on Game Boy Color. If your Game Boy Color games still appear too dark on Game Boy Advance, you may want to continue to play them on Game Boy Color for the best results.